Harissa Spaghettini Recipe

A unique and flavor-packed pasta recipe. Whole wheat pasta noodles, olives, kale, pine nuts tossed in a pan for a tangle with a garlic-charged harissa and olive oil sauce.

Harissa Spaghettini

One of the condiments that survived my recent refrigerator scouring was a three-quarters full tube of harissa - the brick red, earthy, and sometimes potent North African spice paste. I had it earmarked for a pasta dish I had in mind - long, thin whole wheat pasta noodles, olives, kale, pine nuts tossed in a pan for a tangle with a garlic-charged harissa and olive oil sauce. I'm packing my bags for a quick trip to Chile and Argentina, and thought this would be an easy send-off supper - with leftovers I can bring on the flight.

Keep in mind as you head into this recipe that the range of harissas available for purchase is vast - trust your taste buds, and if any of you have favorite brands, give a shout in the comments. One tube might be tastelessly tomato-y, the next tongue-torchingly hot. That being said, the best road to a great harissa is to make your own, but I'd be lying if I said I'm religious about it - hence, the tube of red in my refrigerator door.

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Harissa Spaghettini Recipe

A few quick notes - you can substitute any whole whole pasta, really. Cut the kale into big bite-sized pieces. Harissa can be found in many ethic food sections, or you can make it yourself.

3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
a big pinch of fine grain sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons harissa (paste)

8 ounces (1/2 pound) whole wheat spaghettini
1 small bunch kale, well-washed and deveined
1/2 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
zest of 1 lemon

Bring a big pot of water to a boil. In the meantime, place the cloves of garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle then with a big pinch of salt. Crush with the flat side of a knife. Now crush and chop, crush and chop until you have a garlic paste. Alternately, you can use a mortar and pestle. In a small bowl whisk together the garlic paste, harissa, and olive oil. Set aside.

Generously salt the boiling water, add the pasta, and cook per package instructions. Just before the pasta is done add the kale to the pasta water, count to six, drain and set aside.

Heat half of the harissa dressing in the now empty pasta pot Add the pasta and kale, black olives, pine nuts, and lemon zest. Stir over the heat for a minute or so, then turn everything out onto a platter and drizzle with the remaining harissa olive oil.

Serves about 4 - 6.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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This photo really made me sit up and take notice! What a wonderful idea to help use up the tub of harissa I have. Thanks and have a fantastic trip.


you bring me back in time my mother is tunision origin she yoused to make harisa evry week its a must in tunision cooky red dried hotpeper in a sunny day crushd white olive oil black peper and salt white alot of garlic yammy one spoon improve evry dish


Harissa sounds really good. I was thinking of making some sort of tapanades with hummus and black olives with this mixed in somehow.


My favorite brand is Cap du Bon, but it's getting hard to find in my local markets. I've also used DEA with good results. Always, if you have the choice, buy in a tube rather than a tin. If you can only find the tin, remember to transfer the contents to a glass jar after you've opened it, as you'll only use a small bit of harissa at a time.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

This pasta dish looks rich and full of flavors. It's funny how I've never tried harissa before, even though I'm coming from Israel and here it's pretty common. I'm used to 'lighter in taste' and minimal ingredients with my pasta, so this dish is definitely something new I'd like to try. :)


never made comments before even if I follow you for years. Have a wonderful trip, wish you the best; I'm a Chilean living in Jamaica for the time.... good luck & I'll be waiting to read about your impressions and recipes from both countries....


Have a wonderful trip! I never thought of putting harissa on pasta and I had no idea it was made up with NM chilis and guajilo chilis which are so easy to make into tons of yummy sauces by boiling and pureeing. It freezes well too. :D


Chile, I do live here :) Any semipublic appearance? Any food blog meeting I am unaware of?


Lately your recipes are so easy I can make them on a weekday. Much appreciated!


I adore harissa. If you need anybody to carry your bags on your idyllic sounding trip, you know my address. Have a wonderful time and hurry back as you'll be much missed.


To my mind, the best harissa combination is with lamb sausage - either the kind a good market sells, or the Moroccan ones that one could no doubt find on the web. This article caused me to think of a grilled lamb tenderloin topped with harissa with some cous cous on the side. Sounds like tomorrow :).

Robert Yesselman

Oooh! This recipe sounds lovely. I make my own harissa--I have no store-bought supplies where I live. Carnivore Husband loves it mixed with orange juice and slathered on chicken breasts, then grilled. I love the big bold flavors. Have a safe trip!.


Harissa is one of those things I have been intrigued by for awhile but have not gotten around to making or cooking with. Thanks for the inspiration! Have a great trip to South America!


Gah! It's been years since I've had harissa! I had a boss who made an amazing pasta dish with olives, capers, and elephant garlic - and tons of harissa. I'm going to have to check back for recommendations of brands. I'm jonesing for some now!


After an amazing North African meal in the suburbs of Paris, I became obsessed with harissa! After an extensive search, I confidently say that the best ready-made paste I've found is Charmaine Solomon's Harissa. It's almost exactly the paste I had in Paris, full of flavour but with a hearty kick. Fabulous! I have no idea if it's available in the U.S. but you can get it from delis and dj's in Australia. And her website: http://charmainesolomon.com/pastes/pastes.html


Where does one buy harissa? Any brands you'd recommend.. Sure would love to check it out. Thanks- M. A.

M. A. Mandel

I've never tried harissa before... sounds wonderfully delicious and intriguing!!


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